Should Clubs Amalgamate?

markg

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If clubs amalgamated for each county, we paid one subscription for that one club, gave us access to all the available waters in said county. Would we be better served? Would clubs be better able to manage their accounts and resources? They could share the pot, share and organize work parties, more people available and directed to where needs most. Less administration costs. A bit more financial clout to buy up waters maybe. One sign! Easier to maintain. Less complicated for anglers and more access to water. There would have to be a tier system to accommodate the salmon and trout clubs. A weekly or monthly membership available for when you traveled on holidays.

It’s all a bit of a maze,. It’s never easy to find out boundaries for example, signs are often missing or washed out.
Make a nice looking website, The Sussex Angling Club, a list of all the waters and directions-boundaries, Fees-X for a year-Y for a month-Z for a week-B for a day. All done on line in a minute. Trying to find all these clubs/websites, who are they, where are they, what are they called, which waters; could all be on one website because its one club, how much easier is that. Would more people sign up? Would it help the new anglers?

Lots of little clubs all small groups of people trying to protect and maintain their little bits of fishing; or not little, either way, competing with each other, trying to outdo each other for membership--does it serve us or them well? Would it be a better situation in general?
It would be a shame to lose the old established clubs, quaint and nice but would it be progress?
Just putting out there...
 
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thecrow

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Would be good for those of us that cannot afford to join expensive clubs when there is those waters are a fair way off but not out of travelling distance, how the members of that club would feel about it is another matter.

I see some problems that could arise not least where anglers have paid a joining fee to a club that can in some cases be more than the annual fees, I know of 2 such clubs in different counties with another coming very close all are in different counties.

Then there are the clubs whose waters are located in 2 or more counties, I cant see these clubs just giving their waters up and that's if they are only rented if they own them as some clubs do it becomes even harder.

A good idea that imo would be impossible to achieve.
 

trotter2

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Yes I think it would be a good thing.
In time this is most probably going to happen anyways.
It would share the costs,making fishing more affordable and all waters would be assessable.
 

trotter2

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That's a good point crow.
Maybe divided back to members with more than 10yrs service ?.
 

Mark Wintle

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I was once involved in a water sharing agreement between two clubs that lasted 20 years. It was hard to reconcile how each club should share costs and we found that the overall take of the two clubs was reduced. Reluctantly we ended the agreement and each club has continued to thrive with a better income. Another amalgamation that I was aware off in the Bristol area eventually subsumed some very big clubs that lost their identity completely in time.
 

sam vimes

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Nice in theory, not necessarily so easy in practice. Many clubs have things written into their constitutions to prevent amalgamations. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, such caveats may now appear shortsighted, but they do exist. Many have water(s) gifted, or leased in perpetuity for a token amount, on the understanding that only people resident within certain limits, or members of a club in a stated form, can fish there. Many clubs will lose those waters should they amalgamate with another club. Often such waters will be lost to angling completely if the incumbent club ceases to exist in its original form.

Angling clubs are always looking for ways to keep their heads above water, at least retain what they have and provide fishing for as little as possible. Most have constitutions that make such terms inviolate. It's a rare case when angling clubs are rolling in money and the vast bulk of folks involved in managing them do it for love, not money. There's a fair chance that if a club costs £X and another costs £Y, if they amalgamate (and retain all their waters) the price for them will be £X+Y. They'll still have the same rents to cover. Unless they can significantly improve their combined membership numbers, they'll cost what they cost before combined. Most angling clubs have pretty good relationships with neighbouring clubs. There are all sorts of agreements in place, from shared waters to exchange tickets. My own club shares a water that is actually owned by another angling club. It also does exchange tickets with clubs right through the North East (not that they actually get used much).

The bottom line is that I believe that the idea of a county wide superclub being cheaper than buying tickets for lots of individual clubs isn't necessarily the reality. It could also see the loss of many a water to angling. You'd have to be pretty well heeled to afford to join such a superclub. There would also be plenty of anglers that would object to paying out for distant waters that they had no intention of fishing.

Rail against capitalism if you must, but it's worth noting that most angling clubs are a long way from capitalist ventures. They are about as co-operative as things get. However, they are surviving in a capitalist society where people generally want the going rate in rents for their property. These rents don't miraculously reduce just because we'd like them to.
 
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Tee-Cee

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In essence, it probably has legs, although as MW says it can have drawbacks financially. Any such move will never suit everyone and some winners and losers are bound to appear.
I suppose if the clubs were of equal size it would possibly make things easier to generally please everyone (as far as possible) but if one of the clubs had a really top water with limited access, the members of that club would not be happy...

I wonder what it would take to trigger such a move?

From my point of view I tend toward small is beautiful, but I can see it might well benefit those who don't have a lot of dosh to spare, but would such an amalgamation necessarily mean cheaper fees?

Interesting thread markg, although with your last few threads I'm beginning to wonder if you don't have bit of the rebel in you.....................................Hohoho


os Sam Vimes posted at the same time as I, and what he says pretty much covers it from most points of view IMO
 

greenie62

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All the comments about County-wide amalgamations ignore such stupid things as local-governmental reorganisations - take large clubs like Warrington for example - Although Warrington is in Cheshire currently - it was historically in Lancashire - and is halfway between the 'counties' of Gtr Manchester and Merseyside. Warrington Anglers have extensive waters in all these geographic regions as well as N. Wales! - which county should they consider themselves in for amalgamation purposes? - what would be the status of sharing waters outwith their county? - blood has been shed for less important disputes than this!:eek:
 

Peter Jacobs

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Amalgamation of clubs can work in certain circumstances but probably only where the clubs are of equal size and in relatively close proximity to each other.

Where some much larger club attempt amalgamation with much smaller ons then the "merger" becomes a take over with all the frailties that have been mentioned above that go with it.

Us anglers are rather insular beings and tend to be overly loyal to the clubs that we are members of, so amalgamation is an anathema to most . . . . .
 

Mark Wintle

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Amalgamation of clubs can work in certain circumstances but probably only where the clubs are of equal size and in relatively close proximity to each other.

Where some much larger club attempt amalgamation with much smaller ons then the "merger" becomes a take over with all the frailties that have been mentioned above that go with it.

Us anglers are rather insular beings and tend to be overly loyal to the clubs that we are members of, so amalgamation is an anathema to most . . . . .
There was talk over many years of two of my local clubs amalgamating, both at the time with circa 2000 members and similar fees, but there was a realisation that probably 500 of those members were members of both so instead of say 4000 times £100 the actual yield would have been 3500 x £100, a significant shortfall, that was apart from a sorts of political differences. It never happened.
 

Peter Jacobs

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There was talk over many years of two of my local clubs amalgamating, both at the time with circa 2000 members and similar fees, but there was a realisation that probably 500 of those members were members of both so instead of say 4000 times £100 the actual yield would have been 3500 x £100, a significant shortfall, that was apart from a sorts of political differences. It never happened.

If it is the two I am thinking of then amalgamation will never happen if for no other reason than the political differences alone . . . but it is a valid point that in the case of relatively local clubs that many members will belong to both clubs so the obvious loss of income stream would result.

(CAC and R&DAA?)
 

iain t

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By pointing out The Sussex Angling Club(PBAC) which is the club i have belonged to for many years and also being one of their Bailiffs for them. We are the 2nd largest club in the South East. We do have exchange books for most of the smaller surrounding clubs which expands our waters too well in excess of 20 waters. Since 2007 our club amalgamated with another Sussex club and it works well. Luckily both clubs had the same agenda. My club spends a lot of money from our membership fee's and time not only looking after the waters and banks but also the surrounding area.
I know of other clubs that do not maintain their waters properly and are only in it for the money. In the past, i belonged to a club like this and the fish suffered big time. Also, the membership fee's went up every year but i never saw any maintenance. Get 2 clubs like this joining together would be a nightmare for members.
I can see it working well up north with their larger, long rivers may come in handy if you wish to fish the whole length without joining 3, 4 clubs. Amalgamating of up of 2 or 3 river clubs have more chance of working than Stillwater clubs.
 

Specihunter

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When I fished around Oxfordshire, you had 2 different clubs running different banks of the same stretch of river and no I don't mean the Thames. 1 was the cherwell at Shipton and the other was the windrush just outside witney. So it would get crowded if you 1 angler on each bank.
 
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whitty

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It is a nice idea,but the cost of waters means a mass of clubs would equate to a massive charge for the angler,many anglers are members of more than one club,thus helping to keep waters,I myself join two local clubs,used to be three,plus Christchurch AC,having several clubs in your area is good for the sport imo.
 

markg

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Do not some small clubs struggle to survive and sometimes pack up and lose the waters to fishing? With a diminishing angling population is this not going to become more acute. Do they get taken over by larger clubs or just cease to be. There must be over 30 clubs in East Sussex in intense competition with each other and someone loses out in competitions.
To be honest I haven’t made up my mind whether I mean one super club or an overseeing body that controls all the clubs finances, membership, maintenance and administration etc. Would they all benefit, the smaller struggling ones getting help from the pot and not having to compete with membership from the bigger ones. Certainly communication would improve, I have found communication with these smaller cubs very lacking, probably some bloke who reads the emails once a week if at all. They could still keep their identities to some extent. I am not sure, lack of knowledge how these things go. It would all be more efficient, better run, bring it forward for this century.
What I do know from my point, let’s call it an East Sussex body as it’s a large county, if I could pay one fee to one body and have access to all the waters in East Sussex, I would have enough variety and waters to explore to keep me happy for the rest of my life. I was walking a club water yesterday which was fairly typical and I have seen many club waters that are poorly maintained in east Sussex, washed out notice boards, never anyone fishing them. It could be solved and very different with many advantages to the anglers, the riparian owners and the clubs. Regular maintenance could be maintained on a Rota system, riparian owners fees would be safer, membership would raise because of the attractiveness of it for anglers. I just think it would be a big progress. I understand all the affiliation thing and guest practices but it’s still a maze for the angler. One fee (and why would that be more than the average fee for all the clubs involved?), a big list of waters to just go and fish, clearly marked as part of the "Association". Bang on in my view and I bet it would be welcomed from a lot of anglers.
How it would get instigated, from the Angling trust, one of the bigger clubs, not sure but it’s an archaic unsatisfactory situation that needs sorting out. No doubt it wouldn't be easy, progress rarely is, but it has evolved so far; why stop.

The more I think about it the more I like the idea, not an amalgamation as such, just one umbrella administration, one great website, one fee, monthly and weekly options even day options, pay online, couldn't be simpler, travel anywhere if it was a national kind of thing, no problems or difficulties confusion, loads of research negated, one point of communication well maintained, all these clubs, big and small overseen by one body in a not too lhuge but one well defined countyish probably area. Very 21st century-takes a lot to get me to part with money but I would, it would be such great value, hard to resist. I bet the commercials would get hit a bit, more than a bit.
 
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sam vimes

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Do not some small clubs struggle to survive and sometimes pack up and lose the waters to fishing? With a diminishing angling population is this not going to become more acute. Do they get taken over by larger clubs or just cease to be. There must be over 30 clubs in East Sussex in intense competition with each other and someone loses out in competitions.
Of course, clubs big and small can end up struggling. An awful lot depends on whether they own any of the fishing they control. Clubs that do nothing but rent are generally more precarious than those that own waters. Waters are sometimes lost to angling when a club ceases to exist. In many cases, the failing club will often tip off other local clubs that their rented waters may be up for grabs. It's a popular misconception that such scenarios end up with avaricious club/syndicate vultures entering bidding wars. Such a situation is not common, as mentioned before, clubs do tend to talk to each other. In a similar vein, the idea that clubs are in intense competition is rather misleading. There's surprisingly little competition between clubs, for waters or members. In most cases, people make their choices based on location and quality of fishing. If a club has poor waters in places that not enough people want to go, they'll probably fail.

The success or failure of any club can be a quite precarious thing. A few cormorants, otters, a pollution incident etc, or even just the rumour of them, can all see membership drop to unsustainable levels. A simple period of slightly dodgy weather can impact significantly on income.

There are many potential issues with the superclub idea. In principle, it's not something I object to. For the more dedicated angler, that goes frequently, is prepared to travel and is prepared to pay, it may be rather good. What I wouldn't be keen on would be the price. Membership of such a huge club would be expensive, it would have to be. I wouldn't be paying through the nose for average waters that were more than fifteen miles or so to travel. The distances and prices people would be prepared to tolerate will vary, but I suspect that many would feel the same way. I'm reasonably confident that a superclub in my area would be doomed to fail unless it shed all but the best and most popular water in short order.
 

The bad one

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As a member of thee Super Club, don't for one minute think the bed they rest in is one of milk and honey topped with roses. It ain't, the members moan about everything, too many waters, not enough waters, too much river fishing, not enough river fishing, carp waters are to busy, not enough of them, too many of them, fish are too small at 30 and 40 lb, Club fees are to high, club fees are not high enough to keep the moronic tendency out of the club ...... Oh the bl££ing list of moans is never, never ending!
 

markg

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I am not getting the cost thing unless I am missing something. If 10 clubs charge £50 a year with 10 members each, then a 100 members would pay the same for the same revenue and each club would get a tenth each £500 same as before. But the angler would get £500's worth of fishing instead of £50's worth.
If the clubs that got together took an average price of their fees with some adjustment for members that belong to two or more, would they be losing much, some would lose a bit and some would gain a bit. Given that I think more anglers would join for all the advantages I have already laid out and the administration costs would fall dramatically they would probably all gain in the long term.

And dont clubs compete all the time, they don't like to see anglers joining other clubs instead of theirs or losing members to other clubs, outdoing each other for bids or sales of water when it comes up, driving the costs higher. They may will rub along, you scratch my back I will scratch yours but when it comes to members, survival! And does this process go on till one or the other cant afford to keep going or give up waters because it can no longer afford them. maybe the other club may take over but then again are they not sometimes lost. Is this what happened down Hampshire way?
Would a scheme like mine negate all of that, they all survive, all waters get held, the costs of waters are kept down because of the lack of competition providing the general up take of membership is maintained or increased which I think is likely.
I am thinking more of a central body here, not an amalgamation, some sort of association of clubs, cant think of an example at the moment but it does happen to the benefit of all concerned.
 
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sam vimes

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I am not getting the cost thing unless I am missing something. If 10 clubs charge £50 a year with 10 members each, then a 100 members would pay the same for the same revenue and each club would get a tenth each £500 same as before. But the angler would get £500's worth of fishing instead of £50's worth.
If the clubs that got together took an average price of their fees with some adjustment for members that belong to two or more, would they be losing much, some would lose a bit and some would gain a bit. Given that I think more anglers would join for all the advantages I have already laid out and the administration costs would fall dramatically they would probably all gain in the long term..
If things were that simple, it would certainly be a "no brainer". However, it's not the reality. Find me more than the odd club that a) charge roughly the same amount. b) have broadly similar types of water and amounts of water. Let alone finding multiple clubs of broadly similar stature/membership. The reality is that clubs in a similar geographic area will have members that are in more than one club. Even if there were only a few of them, you've just seen a loss of overall income. I'm sure that the guys in more than one club would be happy, especially if they were paying less. However, the reality is that, unless they find new members, everyone would have to pay a bit more to make up the shortfall. Now you've just brassed of your entire membership because they are paying more for water they have no desire to fish. In the mean time, the Lord Whatshisface, that gifted the lease of his water to a particular club for as long as they existed, has just renounced access to his water. He doesn't want the denizens of Nearbytown on his land. Farmer Palmer, that rented his water to his local club for peppercorn rent has just renounced your access to his water. It was his dad that started the agreement and you've just made the agreement null and void. He's been looking for an excuse to get rid of you since the old man died anyway. Farmer Giles has got wind of the situation, he's not bothered about who is renting his water. However, as you've now got ten times the number of members, he wants ten times the amount of rent you were paying previously. All of a sudden, Littletown club has brought less water to the table and even greater expenditure. Looks like we'll have to put the subs up to cover the shortfall. Members now very brassed off. Members that joined for these specific waters won't be joining the amalgamated club. A significant percentage of the members of the other clubs are objecting to paying extra for water they don't want, they are now going to leave. The amalgamated club is now looking at the stark realities of increasing rents, reduced amount of water and reducing membership. They'll start looking to sell off assets (owned waters) or discarding long held leases. Littletown club owned a couple of bits of river and leased a couple more. However, Amalgamated club decides that no one really fishes it anyway, we'd be better off dropping the leases and selling the owned bits for the greater good of the majority of the membership. Littletown club was only small, their democratic voice within Amalgamated club is minimal. Much to their dismay, democracy rules, their former water is sold and leases dropped. Very little now remains of Littletown club or their former waters. The residents of Littletown and the former club members can't fish the waters they had access to for generations.

And dont clubs compete all the time, they don't like to see anglers joining other clubs instead of theirs or losing members to other clubs, outdoing each other for bids or sales of water when it comes up, driving the costs higher. They may will rub along, you scratch my back I will scratch yours but when it comes to members, survival! And does this process go on till one or the other cant afford to keep going or give up waters because it can no longer afford them. maybe the other club may take over but then again are they not sometimes lost. Is this what happened down Hampshire way?
Would a scheme like mine negate all of that, they all survive, all waters get held, the costs of waters are kept down because of the lack of competition providing the general up take of membership is maintained or increased which I think is likely.
I am thinking more of a central body here, not an amalgamation, some sort of association of clubs, cant think of an example at the moment but it does happen to the benefit of all concerned.
The idea that clubs compete for water is largely false. Other entities may try to outbid clubs, but clubs very rarely go head to head in direct financial competition. Clubs that attempt to poach waters from other clubs don't tend to last too long. They don't tend to get wind of water that may be being relinquished by a sitting club. There's also very little in terms of competition for members. Most clubs know the score and don't pull stunts to pinch members from each other. There is far greater co-operation between clubs than most non-members or ordinary members will ever realise.
 
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